KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
ONE LIKE UNTO A SON OF MAN
"And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the candlesticks one like unto the Son of man" (Rev. 1:12-13).
The King James Bible, as quoted above, says that John saw one "like unto the Son of man," but that is not how the Greek reads. There is no definite article in the Greek, it does not say "the Son of man" but "one like a son of man." Practically every translation available translates the Greek text correctly as "a son of man" instead of "the Son of man." Let us note that what John saw was a vision, a picture, a representation, and what he saw was someone who was "like a son of man" or someone in human form. It was a personage that bore the likeness of a man. Yet, this One he saw was something more than an ordinary man! He saw One in such surpassing majesty that words almost failed him when He tried to describe what he saw! This One had the features and appearance of a man, but there was an aura, a stature, a glory, and a majesty of His person that transcended that of any natural man!
As the spirit of revelation and understanding floods our minds we see that there is an individual as well as a corporate sense of this "one in the midst" of the candlesticks. We know that Christ is one, even Jesus Christ; yet we know that Christ is also many, even the body of Christ. In like manner there is one Son of man, even Jesus; and there is also the many-membered Son of man, even the sons of God. This One like unto a son of man is preeminently none other than our Lord Jesus Christ who has been raised from the dead and glorified with that glory which He had with the Father before the world was. Yet this One is also all the holy sons of God who are conformed to His image, filled with His fullness, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, word of His word, life of His life, and spirit of His spirit!
Understand this and you will understand a great mystery. Spirit is that aspect of God by which He is able to individualize Himself. As Norman Grubb once pointed out, the word "individual" comes from the Latin individuus which means un-divided. Most people seem to think that it means the exact contrary! It suggests separateness to them, as though being separate or divided from every other human being makes them an individual, but they are mistaken. Individual means un-divided, showing that each human person is undivided from humanity in that he is a perfect expression of what humanity is. Thus, in the higher realm of spirit life God has the power of individualizing Himself, that is, the bringing forth of another expression of what He is without, so to speak, breaking Himself into parts. God individualizes Himself as the new man within us, Christ; and so, when we are regenerated we are actually an individualization of God! God can individualize Himself in an infinite number of distinct beings, or units of consciousness and expression, and yet not be in any way separated or divided. God can do this because He is spirit and life. Inorganic matter cannot be individualized! It can only be broken up. Thus, if you were to tear off half a page of this article, and then tear that into small pieces, you would have divided up the page. The remnant of the page would be smaller by the amount of paper torn off; and the whole page would be the sum of all the fragments. This is division ó not individualization! Spirit, however, can be individualized; it can be produced into another form without in any way subtracting from, or diminishing, the original. This capacity of God is the process by which He is bringing forth a vast company of sons in His very own image! So your real self, the Christ within, the spiritual man, the new creation, is in all truth an individualization of God! This does not mean, of course, that you are an absurd little personal god. You are an individualization of the one and only God who was first individualized in the person of Jesus Christ. The Christ man within you is not "another Christ" or "another God," but the manifestation of the life, mind, will, nature, power, and glory of the one and only true and living God ó our Father!
Come with me back to Galilee two thousand years ago. This man Jesus is quite a preacher. He is considered by many to be a prophet. Rumor says that He even does wonderful miracles. But wait a minute! What makes Him so special? "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers," men ask. The hometown folks have known Him since He was in diapers. Theyíve seen Him play and heard Him cry. Theyíve seen Him with sweat-drenched clothes and dirt under His fingernails. Isnít He just an ordinary guy from an ordinary family? "Isnít He the son of that carpenter? Isnít His mother Mary? Come to think of it, didnít she get pregnant before marriage? Arenít His brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?" they ask. "And donít His sisters still live in town? No doubt about it: this man is as human as anyone; Heís nobody special." The people are right that Jesus is as human as anyone. But theyíre wrong to think Heís nobody special! They look so hard at Jesus on the outside that they fail to see who He is on the inside! They look so hard at Jesus as a man, that they donít see Him as God! Letís not repeat that same mistake. But letís not make the opposite mistake either. Letís not look so hard at Jesus as God that we donít see Him as a man!
The following has been widely circulated, I do not know who the author is, but it states some wonderful things about the Son of man. "Almost twenty centuries ago there was a Man born contrary to the laws of life. His death was contrary to the laws of death. He lived in poverty; He possessed neither wealth nor social prestige. In infancy He startled a king; in childhood He puzzled doctors; in manhood He ruled the course of nature, walked upon the billows as pavements, and hushed the sea to sleep. He had no cornfields or fisheries, but He could spread a table for five thousand and have bread and fish to spare. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His service. He never wrote a book, yet all the libraries of the country could not hold all the books that have been written about Him. He never wrote a song, yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters combined. He never founded a college, but all the schools together cannot boast of having as many students. He never marshaled an army, nor drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun; and yet no leader ever had more volunteers who have, under His orders, made more rebels stack arms and surrender without a shot fired. He never practiced psychiatry, yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors far and near. When He died few men mourned. But a black crepe was hung over the sun. Though men trembled not for their sins, the earth beneath them shook under the load. All nature honored Him. Corruption could not get hold of His body. The soil that had been reddened with His blood could not claim His dust. Death could not bind Him. The tomb could not hold Him. Behold what manner of man is this!"
One day in an humble home by a dusty street in the village of Nazareth God supernaturally inseminated a young virgin girl by the name of Mary, and Jesus, the only sinless human since Adam, was born into this world. It is hard for us to realize that in that babe was the life-energy that held the universe together. It is difficult for us to realize that as that boy, the firstborn Son of God, grew in stature, the wisdom and the knowledge which was within Him would confound the wisest theologians; that the miracles He was to perform and the things He would declare, as He walked the earth, were to become living words whose vibratory capacity would change the minds of men, transform their lives, and alter the whole course of history and nations. Here is one who is perfect in thought, perfect in word, and perfect in deed. The fact of the matter is, He is the first perfect man who has ever been on this earth! Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Perfect Man. The sons of God who come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ are perfect men, and also the Perfect Man!
A lecturer was once talking about manís imperfection. He wanted to enforce his point, so he asked rhetorically for anybody in his audience who had ever seen a perfect man to lift his hand. No hand went up. Encouraged by this fact, he asked the question the second time. "Has anyone here ever seen a perfect man?" Still no hand was raised. After he had asked a third time, way back in the rear a little timid fellow lifted his hand. Surprised, the lecturer asked, "Have you seen a perfect man?" "I havenít exactly seen him, but Iíve certainly heard a lot about him," the little fellow replied. "Who in the world is he?" "Heís my wifeís first husband." No doubt he had heard a great deal about him! But if he had met him, I think he would have found out that he was not perfect. The first perfect man who lived on this earth is our Lord Jesus Christ. And wonder of wonders ó Jesus was normal, the only normal person who had ever walked this earth!
My brethren ó what a mystery the young child Jesus must have been to Himself! I suppose He was about thirty years of age before He was at all able to satisfy Himself as to who and what He actually was. The child Jesus must have made the discovery early in His life that He was like no other child in all Israel. "All seek their own," says the scripture, in condemnation of all the children of men. All were walking after their own desires and interests, after their own passions and lusts, after their own thoughts and ambitions. But the child Jesus must have seen and felt within Himself, with a holy wonder, and a divine joy, that, while all around Him, young and old, were doing their own thing, far deeper in His heart than His own things were the things of God, and the things of His neighbor. So early was this the case with Him that, at twelve years of age, He was able to say to His mother, "How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Fatherís business?"
Jesus Christ, the second man, the last Adam, was the first perfectly obedient man. It is written of Him in His youth, "And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Lk. 2:52). The expression "increasing" means to CUT A WAY THROUGH AS A PIONEER. Jesus lived making decisions as no other teenager ever had. He hacked a way through the jungle of selfishness and sin, amidst a people who lived under the curse. He made decisions and choices based on light and truth, the first of His kind. Isaiah had prophesied this learning process centuries before: "The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back" (Isa. 50:4-5).
The writer to the Hebrews impresses upon us the intense reality of Christís humanity ó His being made like unto His brethren, His partaking of flesh and blood in like manner as ourselves, His being tempted in all things like as we are. He leads us in spirit down into Christís humiliation in the flesh, and speaks of the wondrous mystery of the agony there, as the second man and the last Adam was prepared and perfected for the redeeming, restoring, and glorifying work He came to do. Let us enter upon this holy ground with hearts bowed under a consciousness of our ignorance, but thirsting to know something more of the great mystery of perfect manhood which is manifest sonship, first revealed in the life of Him "who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; though He were a son, YET LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE BY THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him" (Heb. 5:7-9).
There is nothing on earth that will increase your faith and add to your confidence in this walk of sonship to God like the knowledge that manifest sonship is nothing more nor less than perfect manhood! When God said in that long ago beginning, "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness, and let them have dominion," it seems that God made a mistake. When He made him out of dirt ó the dust of the ground ó and made him with the kind of human body we have, flesh and blood, spirit, soul, and body, with all the appetites, desires, and weaknesses we have, all the frailty, all the ability for twisting, warping, and spoiling things; when He created us like that and then thought that in such a physical, human, natural, dirt-body His image, glory and dominion could be manifested ó it seems that God was mistaken! Could that human creature limited like us rule the world and nature, the universe and principalities and powers, and all things?
The first man indeed was turned aside, so God said, "I will invade humanity and come down in the person of my Son, limit myself to a human, physical body just like man has, with all its appetites and passions, with all its possibilities of suffering hunger, weakness, and death, and I will demonstrate the character, the life, the love, and the power of God on the human level." The sonship of Jesus was God manifesting Himself within the limitation of a human body! Christ could not fly, He had no halo, He could not see further than anybody else, He could not run faster than the other young men in His day, He got as tired as anybody else, He got hungry, fell asleep, they could spit on Him and finally kill Him. Yet in Jesus Christ you have the perfect manhood and that perfect manhood is MANIFEST SONSHIP! It is the perfect manhood expression of God, which is what Jesus called THE SON OF MAN. It is man in the image and likeness of God!
What is the importance of the incarnation? It means that the Spirit of God, the Word of God, God Himself, can live and express Himself in a physical human body. When God invaded humanity in the body of Jesus Christ, took upon Himself human nature and limitation, was made in the likeness, not of glorified flesh, but of sinful flesh, and for thirty-three and a half years lived, walked, worked, slept, and died in that body, manifesting God on the level of manhood, it meant that God can, by His Spirit, come in and as our spirit live in these human bodies of ours, living in us, loving in us, working in us, fulfilling righteousness in us, overcoming all weakness, limitation, sin, and death, ruling over all things through us, and manifesting the fullness of Himself, even though we are compassed about with infirmities, for He Himself was tempted in all points like as we are. Even though we suffer being tempted, He Himself learned obedience by the things He suffered. Even though we suffer in the weakness of our flesh, His back was beaten, His brow was crowned with thorns, His hands and feet were nailed to a cross, His side was thrust through with a spear, and He shed His blood. Yet, dying on the cross in agony with the spittle running down His face, and the mockers standing about jeering, God was living, loving, forgiving, healing, redeeming, reconciling, restoring, and manifesting in the man Christ Jesus!
Being mocked, God is living in Him. Asleep in the back of a boat, God is living in Him. Hungry, and He goes to a tree and finds nothing to eat on it, God is living in Him. Thirsty, crying for water upon the cross, God is living in Him. Dying, God is in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. Do you see what God did? He revealed that He is at home in human bodies, for man is the image of God! "The tabernacle of God is with man," ó not with angels, not with spirits ó with man! "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." "Let the word of Christ dwell in you" (Col. 3:16). "The Father and I will come and make our abode ó be at home ó with you" (Jn. 14:23). Not to be a visitor, not to be a foreign power coming upon us and overwhelming us, making us do things we canít control. Oh, no! The Spirit will "abide" with you forever, that is, as the Greek meaning indicates, He will dwell, settle down, be at home, to live naturally in you and as you! The Spirit will dwell in you without conflict, to flow through your mind normally and naturally. The word of God shall flow out of your mouth automatically and spontaneously. The works of God shall be manifest through you without fanfare, hype, or theatrics ó in an ordinary, natural way. It seems much so-called prophecy cannot come forth unless the speaker starts to shake or change his tone of voice. Donít you know that God was speaking through Jesus all the time? People try to heal the sick and cast out devils by creating some kind of an "environment" for the power of God to work, and by shouting commands in the name of Jesus, as though authority is in the volume of the voice! Donít you know that because Jesus had authority He could but whisper, "Come out," and the spirits obeyed His command? When God comes to dwell in us and we know that Christ is our life, it is not something foreign that has invaded us, it is the image and likeness of Him who dwells within our spirit finding expression through us normally and naturally as the tabernacle of His life, nature, power, mind, will and glory. Hallelujah!
Paul did not say, "For me to be spiritual and get into the 144,000 is Christ." He said, "For me to live is Christ!" (Phil. 1:21). Living for Paul did not mean those supernatural moments when he was seeing visions, hearing voices, falling out under the power, and being caught up into the third heaven. It meant for Paul to walk from one town to another on the dusty roads with Christ walking in him and as him. It was speaking to people the mind, will and word of God, manifesting the love of God, and demonstrating the power of God in a normal expression of life. The image of God was not seen in Christ just on the mount of transfiguration, it was seen in Him sitting at meat with sinners, speaking the wisdom and love of God while eating a steak and drinking wine. Jesus was no more the Son of God when He ascended in a cloud than He was when He stooped and wrote with His finger in the dirt and, turning to the adulteress beside Him, said calmly and compassionately, "Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more!"
Sonship will be most truly and fully fulfilled in us when God can feel at home in us, without any strain, pretense, showmanship, or abnormality. When we are able to be divinely human and humanly divine we will know the power and glory of manifest sonship! The Christ of God can live in us, manifest His life, love, and power in us at the office, in the home, at the store, in the field, at school, on the airplane, in the street, in every relationship of life. Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding reception, healed blind Bartimaeus while walking down the street, multiplied the loaves and fishes during the course of a meal, healed the lame man in the synagogue, saved and delivered the Samaritan woman while sitting at a well, calmed the storm while riding in a boat, raised the daughter of Jarius in private in her bedroom, raised the son of the widow during a funeral procession ó He never preached the gospel of the kingdom or did His mighty works during a "spiritual meeting" or by in any way acting "religious." Christ lived normally, He demonstrated God naturally in every facet of His life, and simply went about "doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him." That, my beloved, is sonship! That is perfect manhood! That is the Son of man!
It all goes back to the creation of man. Jesus said, "The Father hath given Him (the Son) AUTHORITY. . .because He is the SON OF MAN" (Jn. 5:26-27). One might think it should have read, "because He is the SON OF GOD," but it doesnít say that. The awesome and universal authority of the Son is rooted in the fact that He is the SON OF MAN. Why was it necessary for Jesus to be the "Son of man" to have authority on earth? That man should bear the image of God and have dominion over all things is the first announcement of Godís intention regarding man, and locked up in that wonderful declaration is a universe of meaning that does not reach the eye and that the mind has never understood. We must re-establish and re-define the purpose of our existence. Why are we here? The purpose of God in man has been blurred, distorted, and hideously mangled by the carnal teachings of the church systems!
Oh that men would awaken to the truth that God has provided the answer to humanityís dilemma! "Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that MAN whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). I hope that we all have become aware that that MAN by whom God shall judge the world in righteousness is a corporate man. "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. . .for the perfecting of the saints. . .till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT MAN, unto the measure of the stature of the FULLNESS OF CHRIST" (Eph. 4:1,12-13). "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that ye shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life" (I Cor. 6:2-3).
God in His great purpose of redemption and restoration is raising up A MAN, the MANY-MEMBERED CHRIST OF GOD. He is preparing an instrument, a channel through which to rule, deliver, and bless. God has a MAN to fix creationís problems! You see, beloved, when God injected Himself into the history of this world to save, lift, redeem and restore it, He could not do it as God. He had to do it as man. That is why God was manifest in the flesh, because anything that is done in a governmental way on this earth must be done through man. "Let them have dominionÖ" is Godís own sovereign edict and delegation of governmental authority. Manís rulership of the earth and the heavens is built into the constitution which He framed for creation. For God, as God, to do the job would be unconstitutional! Man is Godís constitutional agent. To man has been given the stewardship of the earth and of the heavens! That is why there is now a perfected MAN reigning in the heavens! God remains the owner, but man is the manager and overseer ó the judge, ruler, priest, and king! Jesus Christ had to come in the form of man, in the likeness of flesh, being made in all things like unto His brethren, because nothing happens on this earth except through man. The Captain of our salvation, the High Priest of our profession, The Head of the Christ-body, the firstborn Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords IS THE MAN CHRIST JESUS, not the God Christ Jesus; He is the SON OF MAN, not God the Son.
Now for Jesus to have anything to do with this dominion He had to become a man, for the dominion was given to man, and in order for Him to receive the kingdom, He had to be a man. As the eternal Word of God He could have nothing to do with this dominion, though it was through Him that all these things were made. But become a man He did, and through His life of obedience to the Father, by His holiness, His purity, His grappling with sin, pain, limitation, and death, and triumphing over it, He qualified to receive the kingdom and to be the ruling head of it, the King of glory. The man in Godís image has a divine and royal destiny to exercise authority and dominion in this world and throughout the unbounded heavens. He is to be lord and head of all! All that happens in the cosmos must take place under the direction of man! God created all things and then man in His image and likeness, as the connecting link between God and His creation, that through man in His image and likeness the invisible God might be seen and known and touched by the visible creation. The face of God would be revealed for all creation to behold, in the face of man! The likeness of God would be made known to the entire universe in and by man. The love, grace, wisdom, knowledge, power, and glory of God would be exercised toward every creature and world and order throughout the vastnesses of infinity through the man in the image and likeness of God!
Jesus is the altogether lovely One. When He walked this earth in human form He was altogether unlike anyone who had ever lived since Adam was banished from Edenís fragrant garden. He was quite different in so many ways ó many that perhaps you have never thought about. For example, did you ever notice that Jesus never withdrew a word or modified a statement in His whole life? Which of us can say the same! He never apologized for anything He said. Which of us can make the same claim? There was no misstatement, no half-truth. What He uttered was truth itself because HE WAS THE INCARNATE TRUTH. Did you ever notice that Jesus never sought advice? Even Moses the lawgiver had his counselors; and Solomon, the wisest of them all, had those from whom he sought counsel and advice. But Jesus had none! In fact, He never went to any school of higher learning. That which He had received of His Father He gave unto us. Occasionally, someone had the impudence to offer Him advice which was peremptorily refused on every occasion. Yet, does not the Bible say that in the multitude of counselors there is wisdom? Yes, when one is as ignorant as we are, so ignorant that we have no earthly cure for our ignorance, then, indeed, we need counselors! The Holy Spirit has now been sent into the heart of every son of God called to sonship as the "comforter" or "counselor," even the spirit of truth, who is leading us into all truth! Jesus is the pattern, the prototype of this sonship!
Jesus never confessed a sin. This is absolutely astonishing! It is axiomatic in the spiritual realm that the holiest of men have been those who were most conscious of their sin and guilt. Job was brought to absolute desperation when God appeared to him. Isaiah abhorred himself when he saw the living God, and said, "I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips" (Isa. 6:5). Peter said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man" (Lk. 5:8). And Paul said, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (I Tim. 1:15). Jesus confessed no sin for one simple reason: unlike any one of us He had none! He is the perfect man, the pattern and prototype of every son of God who is being conformed into His image!
Further, Jesus never bothered to explain any of His frequent ambiguous conduct. When word was brought to Jesus that Lazarus, His good friend, was sick, what did He do? Did He rush to his side to help him? No, He remained right where He was for three days, while Lazarus grew sicker and sicker and died. Then belatedly, He appeared and His appearance evoked from the broken heart of Lazarusí sister these reproachful and heart-rending words: "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died!" No explanation. No apology. Not a word! "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" And then those immortal words before the tomb: "Lazarus ó come forth!" Jesus just allowed time and the unfolding plan of God to justify all that He did. He had no motive to gain the sympathy, understanding, or adulation of men. Jesus was asleep in the back of a boat in the midst of a storm with waves breaking over the railings, filling the ship. "Master, carest Thou not that we perish?" cried the distressed disciples. No word of explanation, just the command, "Peace! Be still!" and the waves ceased their raging.
Jesus never asked and never permitted prayer for Himself. You may recall the time in Gethsemane on the night before His crucifixion. He gathered together His apostles and asked them to pray. But note well, my friends, His words! "Watch and pray (for yourselves) that YE enter not into temptation." Why did He not ask for our prayers? Why did He never permit anyone to pray for Him? Why did He not even pray with His disciples? Why did He always go off to pray alone? Very simply ó He did not need anyoneís prayers! He did not need them and He did not want them. Why? Because this Jesus of Nazareth is THE PERFECT MAN, MAN IN THE IMAGE OF GOD! As the Father hath life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself. It is a deep mystery, beyond the comprehension of babes in Christ, but all these attributes of Jesus are the marks of sonship, the sign of the Son of man, the evidences of spiritual maturity, the very destiny of every elect saint who grows up unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ!
Can you imagine Jesus, on the road to Samaria, sitting down on a rock by the wayside, calling to Peter, James, and John, saying, "Boys, I want you to come over here and pray for me. I really need to be ministered to today, I need help, I need your strength. Ever since we left Galilee the old devil has really been after me. This depression has hit me, and I want you to lay your hands on me and rebuke this thing. It started last week when the Father showed me that someone is going to betray me. Iíve been so upset ever since, Satan wants to use that to beat me over the head. Some other things have been bothering me lately, and this head cold isnít helping any. If I donít get the victory soon, I wonít be able to minister in Samaria, but I know itís just the devil fighting me!" Do you think those disciples ever had to encourage Jesus, lay hands on Him, counsel Him, pray for Him, or minister to Him? Jesus said, "The SON OF MAN came not to be ministered to, but to ministerÖ" Ah, there is the reality of the Son of man who is the Son of God! He did not come to receive life, but to give life! He had life in Himself even as the Father had life in Himself. Within that life, yea, that indwelling life, was every element of faith, victory, righteousness, wisdom, knowledge, and power He could ever need! If He needed courage, the courage was in the life! If He needed strength, the strength was in the life! If He needed wisdom, the wisdom was in the life! If He needed power, the power was in the life! This is a nature and a life that is not dependent upon anything without, for it is self-existent life requiring no sustenance; it is not derived from another, does not draw from anything, is abundant, unchanging, inexhaustible, all-sufficient life! This is the life of sonship, this is the stature of the son of man, man in the image of God! This is the goal of all who are appointed of the Father to be conformed to the image of the Son, to reign with Christ in the kingdom of God! How could anything less than this reign with Christ upon His throne!
My spirit rejoices today in thankfulness to my Father in heaven that many years ago He let me hear a secret from His own heart, a secret that few in our generation have understood. When He breathed into my listening heart, my whole being was charged and my entire life and ministry changed, for I could never be the same after hearing His words: JESUS IS THE PATTERN SON! JESUS IS THE IDEAL MAN! EVERY SON OF GOD SHALL BE AS HE WAS AND AS HE IS! "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29).
LIKE HIM? IN EVERY WAY? CONFORMED TO HIS IMAGE? IN ALL THINGS? EXACTLY LIKE HIM? Oh, our Father! Be pleased to open the eyes of Thy children that they may see to what a high and holy calling Thou hast called them in Thy Son! Ah, if Jesus did not change, then these sons must come to the place where they do not change. If Jesus never apologized, because He never misspoke or did any wrong, these sons must also come to the place where they do not offend in word or deed. If Jesus received all His wisdom and knowledge from the indwelling Father, these sons, too, must receive all wisdom and knowledge from the Father within. If Jesus did not sin, these sons must not miss the mark. If Jesus never needed to be encouraged, these sons must become so triumphant in His life that they encourage all men, but need not to be encouraged themselves. If Jesus did not need to be prayed for or ministered to, these sons in His likeness, grown up into the fullness of His stature, reigning upon His throne must also have reached that place where they need not to be continually ministered to, but they minister and pour out their lives for all. If Jesus always had victory, if Jesus always was full of faith, if Jesus always did the will of His Father, if Jesus lived every moment by the life of the Father, then these sons must also live victoriously by the indwelling life of the Father!
THE PATTERN SON. THE IDEAL MAN. THE PERFECT MANHOOD. THE SON OF MAN. How awesome! "LIKE HIM." What a challenge! What were the strong points of this Pattern Son? He didnít have any ó not a one! To have a strong point you must have a weak point, and Jesus did not have any weak points! Other men are noted for some one faculty or talent. Moses was the meekest of all men. Job was the patient one. Abraham was strong in faith. But Jesus was altogether lovely in every way. . .the meekest, the most humble, patient, loving, gracious, courageous, firm, wise, powerful, everything. Consider, my beloved, the incomparable symmetry of the perfections of Jesus Christ. What a balance He had! What fullness! And this glorious Personage is not something unique in the universe, He is the pattern by which your life and mine is being designed! He is the firstborn of an entirely new race of men, the SONS OF THE LIVING GOD! Christ is being raised up in us and we are putting on His image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord!
Let me present to you this glorious company of overcomers, the new creation man, the perfect man, the ideal man, the many-membered son of man in the midst of the candlesticks, even those who have life in themselves. These are they who have discovered the river of life flowing from deep within their own beings, life full, abundant, and triumphant! They are never discouraged by any situation, nor upset by any circumstance. They are constant ó not up one day and down the next. You do not find them standing in prayer lines. They are always encouraging others, but never seem to need encouragement themselves. They continually pray for others, but never seem to have prayer requests of their own. They minister to many, but do not stop to be ministered to. They are not offended by what others say and do. They love and forgive and esteem everyone. They speak the best of all men, for they know the value of all men is Christ, for He is the Saviour of them all. They are not depressed or burdened. They are not fearful, worried, or confused. They are not upset or angry with anyone. They donít quit when the going gets rough. They do not tell you how the devil has been fighting them, in fact, they donít talk about the devil at all, for the dragon has been cast out of the heaven where they dwell! They donít talk about their problems. They do not wear sad or sorrowful countenances, regardless how dark things seem. The word of Christ dwells in them richly. They have been given a new song, even praise unto their God! They glorify God in all things, for they know that He is in control. They walk daily in wisdom and understanding, in confidence and faith, in conscious awareness of the Fatherís plan and will; they always have the victory, are always positive, ever rejoicing in the Lord! They walk tall and strong. They walk straight. They are constant. They press forward toward the goal, rejoicing in expectation of the glory of God!
How can one minister deliverance to another if he is bound himself? How can one furnish encouragement if he is himself discouraged? How can one impart joy when he is sad? How can one supply faith when he is fearful? How can one lift another when he is himself bogged down in the slough of despondency? How can peace be bestowed by a soul filled with anguish? How can righteousness be communicated by one with an evil heart? How can victory be given by the defeated? How can strength be ministered by the weak? Oh! The world so desperately needs NEW CREATION MEN! All creation groans for the manifestation of the SONS OF GOD! You will not see many of these kind of people in the candlesticks, but if you look carefully, you will see them arising in the midst of the candlesticks!
How totally inadequate do our words become in the light of truth of such wonder as this! Jesus is the prototype of what God intends man to be. He is Godís finished product, Godís ideal man. What a man! Sinless man. Perfect man. Diseaseless man. Unlimited man. Deathless man. Anointed man. Crowned man. God-man. What a specimen! There is nothing ordinary about our Christ. Everything about Him is superlative. His perfection is far beyond all question. Yet He was a man. What infinite strength out of incredible weakness! Jesus is man par excellence living and walking in the Kingdom of Heaven! He came to earth and walked among men in their realm, but at the same time walked in the realm of the heavens of Godís Spirit. He was a spiritual and heavenly man who walked among earth-bound men. He had dominion over them. They planted their smartest lawyers and most learned theologians in the crowd and tried to trip Jesus up ó He made fools of them. They tried to throw Him over a cliff and destroy Him ó He just walked through their midst and went His way. Never man spake as this heavenly man spake! Never man lived as this man lived! Never man did the mighty works that He did!
Our Christ is the most powerful among the powerful, the mightiest among the holy and the holiest among the mighty. With His nail-pierced hands He has lifted empires off their hinges. With the same nail-pierced hands He has lifted prodigals out of the hog pen. Our superlative Christ has turned the stream of time into new channels. HE MAKETH ALL THINGS NEW! Whatsoever He touches, whatsoever touches HIM, becomes new. This is the Son of man with power; what every man should be and ultimately will be! One can never comprehend the length and breadth and height and depth of Godís great plan of creation and redemption until he first understands that Jesus Christ is the revelation of the value of every man. In the mysterious mists of Eden God breathed into man the breath of His very own divine life and prophesied of this man that he would bear the image and likeness of Himself, and in due time would take his place in the Fatherís great kingdom with dominion over all the works of His hands. Yet today, under the curse of sin and death, sin-cursed and sin-broken, sick and weak, murderer and prostitute, proud and arrogant, mean, vindictive, and tyrannical ó all that is humanity!
But is that the value of mankind? What is the value of human life? JESUS is the value! The price that is paid for an object reflects its value. The price God paid for humanity was His own Son in the image and glory of the Father. God saw beneath manís tattered garment and marred image His own omnipotent potential buried there. Love pierced through the gloom and roughness and saw a diamond in the rough, but a diamond sure enough! It was in that divine spark within manís spirit, which came from God, and capable of being renewed, that we find the reason for the cross. The cross reveals the value of every man, and Jesus is the image of redeemed and restored men!
This is exactly what the Lord Jesus taught and demonstrated so wonderfully through His sonship ministry. He spoke the words of compassion and power into the souls of all marred creatures and called them beloved children of God. He didnít call them sinners, or condemn them. He saw them as they were meant to be, as they are in the eyes of the heavenly Father. That was the value of their lives! He healed their diseases, forgave their sins, raised their dead without any conditions, and lifted them up from the mire and defilement and set them on the pathway to holiness and restoration to their lost estate that they might live again as sons and daughters of the Most High.
It would do us all a world of good to take inventory of our attitudes ó how we see men. I fear that we would be both surprised and disturbed to see how often we view men out of our carnal minds rather than with the eyes of our heavenly Father ó the prodigalís Father! Oh mystery of mysteries! Jesus went to the cross not only to take away our sins, He went there for the good in man, to redeem it and restore it into the image of God again. The deepest mystery of all is that God is multiplying Himself in man, and is bringing Himself into a new dimension. There is a MAN seated upon the highest throne of heaven. Not an angel, not a cherub, not a spirit, but a MAN! That man still is clothed in the body that walked along the shores of Galilee, for the cave of Joseph of Arimathea is empty, although that body has been spiritualized by the power of incorruptible life.
The dwelling place of a son of God is in the Father and the dwelling place of the Father is in the sons. The sons are the out-raying of the Fatherís substance and the perfect imprint of His nature in human form. I never enjoy trying to see pictures where no picture exists, but it is plain to an understanding born from above that ultimately all men will be manifest sons of God, for the man Christ Jesus, who is the Son of the living God, died and rose again to redeem and save and restore all men to God as His very own children. That will be the glorious consummation of Godís ages-long purpose to make man in His image and after His likeness. Nothing short of that can suffice. Only then will God be ALL-IN-ALL!
The kind of man God wants is exemplified in His firstborn Son, Jesus. If we want to know what all men will eventually be like, we have only to look at Jesus! The manifest sons for whom all creation groans are but a firstfruit of Godís great purpose of the ages! Jesus is the Alpha, the beginning, and we, the sons of God, are the firstfruits of His harvest. God has begun a work in us and He will bring it to completion! He has also begun a work in all creation, and He will finish and successfully consummate it to the praise of His glory. Not only did God have this plan in the beginning, but the very minutest details were all figured out before He ever began. "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the ages." God knew from the beginning what He was going to do, the blueprint was complete in every detail. Only fools begin to build without a blueprint, or without the ability to finish what they start. God is no fool! He is wisdom itself, the infinite mind and omnipotent power behind all things. Nothing has been left to chance! God has planned everything step by step. He has a timetable that He goes by. Things happen at exactly the time He wants them to happen, and precisely the way He planned for them to happen.
Jesus was born when the fullness of time was come. He was manifested to the world, fulfilled His sonship ministry, died, rose, and ascended to the throne of the majesty on high right at Godís appointed time. He will be revealed in the fullness of His glory in His many brethren, the manifest sons of God, according to Godís timetable. Only God knows that day and hour, but there is a specific moment in the Fatherís plan in which the sons will be revealed. Your faith will not bring it even one second before the time! Should your faith seem to hasten the day of manifestation, it will only be because the Father gave you a greater faith to bring it sooner than it would otherwise have come. GOD is the one in control! There was a time appointed for you to be born. God knew all about you before the beginning of the creation, because you are part of His plan. You were chosen to be in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). God knows all about your life; He knows when you sit down and when you rise up, when you go out and when you come in. God had a blueprint for your life even from the foundation of the world. He has orchestrated every event of your life. God chose your parents, the places you would live, the people you would meet, the experiences you would encounter, the difficulties and trials you would face, the blessings you would receive. It was God, my brother, my sister, who arranged with infinite care the very moment of your conversion and the circumstances that set the stage for it! It was God who exposed you to every saint of God, to every ministry, to every revival, to every moving of His Spirit and manifestation of His power that influenced your growth and development in Him and shaped your life from realm to realm. It was God who organized the precise events by which you first heard the message of sonship and the kingdom of God! It was God who touched the strings of your heart and brought forth the melody of His truth from your inward parts! Not one little detail of these happenings was by accident.
I tell you the truth when I say that had I sought for a million years to find God, to know Him as I know Him, and His great plan and purpose, I never would have found Him! Raised as a boy in a strict Pentecostal home, way out in the country from a small town in south Alabama, I tell you that out of the billions of people on this planet, and the world of religious confusion, and the darkness of the carnal mind, the odds of me finding the reality of sonship to God on my own are less than the odds of me winning the Texas Lottery! The odds of winning the lottery are one in eighteen million. The odds of me finding my heavenly Father and the truth of His great, eonian plan and purpose are one in billions! Daily I praise God with joy unspeakable and full of glory for the way HE has led and directed my path, for all the things HE set in my way, and brought into my experience, to bring me to Him, to give me an understanding that I might know Him as I know Him, to unveil Himself to me, to teach me His truth and His ways, to reveal His kingdom and His glory, to be a Father to me that I might be a son to Him. Oh, yes! I praise and thank and glorify His glorious name for it is HE, and HE ALONE who has brought me to this hour! And it is the Lord Himself who has brought you to this day!
This is the day that the Lord has made! The light of His countenance has shined upon us! God is raising up HIS MAN in the earth in this hour! There is One standing even now in the midst of the golden candlesticks, and He is like unto a son of man! This is Godís Christ, the many-membered Son of Man! Truly the Father is bringing us into new dimensions of faith, wisdom, understanding, discernment, love, authority and power ó the image of God! We know that we are on the threshold of a divine breakthrough into higher realms of life and glory! I hear the voice of this Man today as the voice of many waters, and I behold His countenance shining as the sun! The glory of the Lord is arising for the whole world to see, and the kingdom of God is coming with power and great glory! May your heart be encouraged this day to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord in every challenge that lies before you!
To be continuedÖ
J. PRESTON EBY
If you would like to receive these studies write to:
J. Preston Eby
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
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